It is an unusual day that sees me up at 4am and straight into my swimming costume, but then Summer Solstice is an unusual day. One where as many Bobbers, who are able, swim at Dawn and Dusk, in the rising and setting sun. The morning bob became quite a dog bobbing session.
Two dogs bobbing and one surfboarding.
The dawn was soft and the water fairly warm, for the time of year.
The evening bob was another lovely experience. Bubbles in both senses of the world were free flowing.
The water appeared to be a little cooler but the prosecco bubbles perked us up a bit. And so, at the opposite end of the day, I was ready for bed straight after my swim.
This is the second year we have marked the Solstice with double dipping sessions, a lovely way to mark time passing and the fellowship of swimming year round.
We have some friends who live in Down Thomas, a village opposite our swimming beach, not on the island but on the cliffs that are hidden behind the sea fog that was sweeping in yesterday afternoon. I sent them this picture with the question ” Where are you?”
Our late afternoon bob was chilly and bright and looked, but did not feel, Mediterranean.
When we got out I had received a photo back, from our friend, with the same question.
Three years ago I took this picture of a beach on 27/12/2018. Not in my wildest imagination did I think that I would become a year round swimmer from this beach, or that I would ever live just a short walk from here. It feels like yesterday. Not so very far over that blue horizon was an almost two year long, life altering and time warping Pandemic. It all feels quite unbelievable.
The calm before the storm. There is another named storm on its way. This is todays weather forecast. Last nights dog walk was a very peaceful affair.
Nativity and resin cows peacefully twinkling in a landscape with no wind.
Overnight the mood of the weather has switched from benign to malign and there was just a small window of opportunity to walk the dogs today. Serendipity and the forecast sent me out to the beach at the exact same time as some friends. So todays blog has four doggy companions enjoying Tranquility Bay before they are confined to the house by Storm Barra
So far so tranquil, lets see how peaceful tomorrow looks.
Todays blog was knocked off the front page by another story of bobbing. This is how tranquil the area was when we went for a dip last night. But what lies underneath?
A playful seal! Spearmint the seal joined the two distance swimmers at the furthest buoy and swam back with them to one of the other swimmers. They calmly warned her that they were not alone. Not trusting them at all she disbelieved them. Calm, was not, in truth, how any of them were feeling . An onlooker who was alerted by their excited chatter said she had never seen anyone swim back to the shore so fast. On arrival back in Tranquility bay Spearmint played around with two other bobbers before noticing that the others were getting out, she joined them in a rush for the beach and the video that follows was her being calm with a background soundtrack of excited chatter.
Teresa, the quick thinking onlooker who filmed this also had a video of Spearmint having her supper.
I think it is safe to say that the whole encounter was a lot more exciting for the humans, Miss Spearmint just takes the whole thing very much in her stride.
Soon after she returned to the sea the water if not the ‘ bobbers’ was entirely tranquil.
Just a little blog today about the joys of an early morning start, and another unexpected morning joy.
Starting the day early with a cup of coffee, the sunrise and a natter with swimming friends at Tranquility Bay. Even though this was officially a dog walk and not a ‘ bobbing’ session.
They were not averse to some morning basking. It is going to be a beautiful day.
My day got a little more complex soon after this when I took the car, an automatic, to have some body work done and the courtesy car had one of these!
Both feet doing something while I drive is quite a novelty.A bit of driving round early morning, empty car parks soon put my driving skills back into the manual world. And the word novelty allows me to add a small serving of another fairly unique experience of the past weekend.
I suppose Covid has altered the way hotels can serve breakfast. My inner child was properly thrilled to have a one person serving of breakfast cereal. A treat that only occured very rarely when I was an actual child and pretty rarely when I had actual children.
Two days of torrential storms and the path to the beach is flooded. But today the sun is out and that makes everything feel pretty. Despite the weather the contractors have managed to finish the refurbishments to our swimming area.
We have handrails now on the new steps that will safely guide us in and out of the water at high tide swims, in all but the worst of weathers.
This mornings swim is set to be a calm one with a bit of giddy excitement at having new concrete and handrails!
We had a fabulous bob this morning. The sea was cool and bumpy and we had two invisiting bobbers from Oxford, both with the skills required, bobbing obviously and nattering. The more gregarious of the two guest bobbers got into conversation with a gentleman who had, he said, retired from the glamour industry. Women writhing to keep their bits covered up must have been quite a novelty for him.
Writhing occurs during the changing phase. Relatively easy during the dry change but post swim all sorts of curious movements occur, sea water and cold skin can be a sticky pairing. Even the simplest garment can become a tenaciously gripping piece of fabric, intent on clinging in the wrong place.
In other news a new cook book has arrived @theoldmortuary . Med by Claudia Rodin. The waves in the blog come from the cookbook not Plymouth Sound.
There is an update on Pandemic Pondering #524.
Only 24 hours after a few bobbers had watched the cremated remains of an unknown person belatedly drift into the bay, other bobbers visited for an evening swim. Two high and two low tides had occured and had returned the roses to the high tide point. Once again bobbers gently returned the floral tributes to the sea. Whilst we are in thoughtful mode I can share a poem about swimming in a cold sea that Angela Bobber shared on our Bobbing WhatsApp group
The link above takes to you to Samantha Reynolds Instagram page.
Bobbers don’t particularly fill their swims with worries of rocks and sharks. We have smaller fears, eels and seals with caves full of plundered treasures and enchanted seaweed with the power to grab ankles. It’s all in the mind, of course, but we never allow fantasy or fact ruin good conversations or good bobbing.
We had a great Wednesday night bob last night. On leaving the water we realised we were not alone. A person, unknown to us, had had their ashes scattered on the beach earlier in the evening. Obviously the tide had not quite done what their family and friends had intended and they had been dumped, by the retreating tide, near the low water mark.
There were only four bobbers on the beach and it made us a little sad to think of someones loved one just waiting there alone for a final swim into infinity. Then the tide turned and they were off.
Delicate, swirling, white, whisps of ash and sea-water gently leaving the beach and heading for the sunset.
A shameless dogblog. Low tide this morning and an empty beach gave the dogs a rare chance to scamper on the beach. Lola is perfectly camouflaged on her new local beach.
Hugo, of course, would only be camouflaged at pure white tropical beaches, which are not local to us.
It’s not only our swimming hobby that stops them visiting the beach often. They have very low respect for other people’s activities. The peaceful activities of strangers are their main interest, book reading or yoga are activities to step away from the hurly burly of regular life. Neither experience is enhanced by a furry nose and whiskers snuffling extremities, however unthreatening the intention.